We had the good fortune of connecting with Rich Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rich, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I have been a touring songwriter and bandleader for almost 15 years now. When I first started the idea of being a full time musician and making all my money from music was so exciting. I spent many years on the road playing almost every night, barely making enough money to survive, but “living the dream” Eventually I realized that my passion was now my job. I spent most days on the computer booking shows and nights in bars. Playing shows to make money, or for the hope that it would lead to something better, but really my life balance was off. I wasn’t writing enough or seeing my friends. After a really fun, but financially draining tour of Australia I decided to get a side job driving ride share to pay off my debt. I was able to stay home more and write and see my friends again. I realized that I was missing a big part of my life at home chasing the dream everywhere else, but mostly slowly going into debt. My band mate Dave always had a great saying: “make your vocation your vacation.” I realized that the endless tour was feeling less like a vacation and more like a disaster. I was able to pay off my debt in a couple years and began touring about 50% of what I did before. I decided to choose where I wanted to go and who I wanted to see, instead of chasing money or fame. Now I feel so happy and have a good balance of art, life and music and plan to tour forever on my own terms!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The Lonesome Heroes has always walked the line between Indie Rock and Country music. Never quite fitting in perfectly in any one scene, but sort of fitting in everywhere. I feel so lucky to get to know so many artists from diverse musical and geographical backgrounds. We have been so lucky to tour and make friends all over the world. I would have quit a long time ago without all my amazing friends. I think if you can work with your friends making art you are on the right track.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If there wasn’t a pandemic and I was taking my best friend out in Houston I would take them for Tacos, Lonestars and Two Stepping at Goodnight Charlies. We have played some of our most fun shows ever in Houston there and made so many new friends. But usually we have to play music, so I would love a chance to listen and dance for a night. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We have a non profit here in Austin called HAAM. They help musicians get Health, Dental and Mental care. I don’t think I would have survived the music business with out this resource. They recently expanded to help with gym memberships and alternative health options as well and it has helped so much. All of my band mates and I are very lucky to be healthy and happy because of HAAM.
No Credits for photos.